Just Heather

When I jumped back in to this blogging thing, I once again enjoyed the community aspect—reading other blogs, commenting on posts, chatting with fellow bloggers.  I discovered a lot had happened while I was away.  Gone were the useless memes and quizzes (those are all on Facebook now), but the space is now filled with giveaways and contests.

I entered one, mostly because I actually had a comment about the prize, at Gotcha Baby.  The prize was listed as a collection of Hallmark cards for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  Excellent timing, what with both holidays coming up (okay, so I’m a little behind on posting this), and me being too cheap to buy cards.  Anyway, as the title suggests, I actually won!

2009-05-266I wasn’t really thinking much about it, other than to be thrilled that I didn’t have to traipse through the store with 3 girls and attempt to choose cards for our parents.  Imagine my surprise when the package arrived just a few days later and it was chock full of photo cards, musical cards, recordable cards and a selection of their inexpensive (there’s the stuff!) recycled cards for every day use. I have been officially welcomed back to the world of blogging. Most importantly, I am set on cards for the next couple months.

I was super impressed, even if I am negligent in sending my thanks.  The cards themselves are a lot of fun. There are 4 that are clearly the highlight of the package—2 for Mother’s Day and 2 for Father’s Day.  Both are recordable music cards.  There is a song already in the card plus an opportunity for you to record your own, personal message.  The girls had a lot of fun with that part and I was impressed with how easy they are to use.  I figured the mic would have trouble picking up their voices, but they didn’t even have to be super close to the card for it to work.  In fact, you could conceivably make a recording with all 3 kids buckled into their respective carseats on the way to dinner with the recipient.  Just sayin’.

girlsTwo of the cards were also photo cards.  Unfortunately, it turns out that we don’t have a good, recent picture of all 3 kids.  That is probably in part because one of them is in constant motion.  Lucky for me, my hubby is rather talented.  He threw together a collage of the girls that I like even better than a posed still shot. I think it captures each girl’s personality quite nicely. Each set of grandparents will get a copy (though some have to wait until Father’s Day) and I printed another for us but I’m still not sure what I’m doing with it. I only know that I needed to capture this moment in time, when each girl has her own distinct personality yet somehow still forms a cohesive family unit.

The original Alphabet Dating project fizzled out last fall. After a phenomenally rough holiday season, Spencer and I decided to give it another try. When my brother and his wife gave us Pacer tickets for Christmas, coupled with an evening of free babysitting, we had the perfect opportunity to start again. Armed with Restaurant.com certificates for Blue Crew, we were prepared for an evening of athletics. A sports themed date is perfect for us. I love basketball; he loves the Colts.

View from Our Baseline Seats

View from Our Baseline Seats

It was a decent game, and I really enjoyed the baseline seats. We’ve been to several games over the years, but this was my first opportunity to have noisemakers behind the goal. I was stupidly excited about it! After the game, we headed out for appetizers at the Blue Crew. When we arrived at 10:05pm, though, we were told the kitchen closed at 10. Having missed dinner, we were hungry but I was determined to keep with the A-themed evening.

Majors Sports Cafe

Majors Sports Cafe

The next thing to pop in my mind was a sports cafe run by a friend of mine. Majors Sports Cafe has 47 television screens around the restaurant and a unique, eclectic menu including buffalo meatloaf! We enjoyed our dinner and conversation while we I kept an eye on hockey, soccer, a Peyton Manning documentary and an XBox competition—definitely more sports than even I was anticipating.

not from our baseline seats

Game 2: Club Level

We actually had the opportunity to revisit the Pacers (for free, I might add) before we got around to the next letter in our dating journey. That was a serendipitous evening with an even more serendipitous meeting. We bumped into our high school best friends as we were walking to the club level. Clearly the beginning of our new Alphabet Dating experience was steak sauce. Because that also starts with an A.

When we first went gluten free, I had heard Amazon was the cheapest place to buy certain foods. They sell in bulk, have free shipping when you spend over $25 and often have online coupons for $10 off a grocery order.

At first, I didn’t buy anything in bulk as we were trying many different products. I thought once we found some favorites we could start buying online. The idea of having our treats arrive on our doorstep instead of trucking to the specialty store was quite appealing. Last month, I finally took advantage of their grocery special. For the bargain price of $46 I ordered 12 bags of pretzels and 12 bags of animal pasta (aka Spaghetti-Os). It truly was a deal and a half.

I received an email a couple weeks later from Amazon that the pretzels were back-ordered. I had to purchase a different brand at the specialty store while we waited. The other day our pretzels arrived on the front porch. The girls were thrilled. They have already been through 4 bags! At this rate, I’ll have to order again without the benefit of a coupon code. I’m keeping my fingers crossed a good one comes along again soon.

If I don’t keep their favorites in stock, they end of sneaking something else—which then results in headaches, stomach aches, behavioral issues and teary promises that they’ll never do it again. Of course, memory of pain only seems to last so long. That’s why women keep having more kids. I, of course, have managed to develop a great memory for that sort of thing. Which is why we are all done with the baby thing—just as soon as I can convince hubby that I’m serious this time.

Oh, Serenity, how do I love thee. Pictures to come, but first cool stuff about my new car:

  • Whiny toddler no more—the DVD player is standard!
  • I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with 12 cup holders in a 7 passenger vehicle, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.
  • The iPod line-in means he can quit messing with my presets!
  • Even though some jerk already scratched my door in the parking lot, she’s so beautiful.
  • I’m sure we’ll be restocking it soon, but the fact that the first aid kit comes ready made for my children is pretty cool.
  • Theoretically, I will never hear “I’m [insert temperature complaint here]!” again since she can reach her own damn climate controls.
  • I may now own a soccer mom mobile, but if you even think of calling her a van she’ll say FU!

I’m talking about real, honest-to-goodness support. My Brownie troop organized a care package drive at school. We managed to put together 10 care packages for soldiers overseas through the Any Soldier program. I am preparing them to mail this week, and in doing so discovered several other great programs.

I ran out of packing peanuts. Not surprising since I’ve never bought any in my life, but I still had 5 packages to complete. So I did what any good coupon queen would do and put a request on Freecycle. Not only did I receive 5 offers for packing peanuts, but I received an amazing offer from Beanies for Baghdad to ship all 10 packages for free, courtesy of Gary Sinise through Operation Iraqi Children and A Million Thanks.

I think all 4 of these efforts are wonderful opportunities to truly support our troops, and I plan to participate in some way with all 3 who have preserved my girls’ troop funds for next year’s activities.